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Challenger bank working on commercial turnaround times

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Reporter 6 minute read

ING DIRECT has revealed that it is working on shortening turnaround times for priority commercial mortgages, but needs brokers’ help.

Speaking at ING DIRECT’s broker roadshow in Sydney last week, Adriana Sheedy, ING DIRECT’s executive director of operations, acknowledged that its turnaround times for commercial transactions were slower than desired, but that the lender was looking into improving it. 

When asked a question from the floor as to why its turnaround times for commercial deals were “seven or eight days” rather than the ideal “three or four”, Ms Sheedy said: “I hear you loud and clear… and we have a dedicated team that is going in and reviewing our process, particularly for commercial mortgages. 

“I think one of the lessons we learned from the last implementation on the resi side is that we tried to digitise a process that wasn’t very good, as opposed to reviewing the process, making it good and then digitising where it needed to be digitised. We don’t want to make that same mistake again with PCM, which is why we’re taking a different approach before we dive into spending millions on technology [so] we’re making sure that process is as robust as possible.”

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Ms Sheedy continued: “We’re looking at turnaround times and how we structure our teams across sales across operations – we’ve had really good success rolling out end-to-end working on the resi side and we’re looking at doing that now for PCM. 

“As soon as that process is compete, out of that will come the digitisation options, so we're planning on delivering what those priorities are over the next 12 months for our roadmap for next year.” 

Mark Woolnough, head of distribution, summarised: “Let’s get the core competencies of the proposition right, embedded and settled, and build the brand, the presence and the momentum, and then [we can] look at what else we can provide as an adjacency to your business and your client offerings. [We’d] rather that than just throw too much into a process at the moment that isn’t designed to cater for that, and which will only make your experience worse.”

However, Ms Sheedy said that brokers could also help improve the bank’s turnaround times for both commercial and resi, by ensuring that applications were “clean and complete”.

Highlighting a previous comment made by Mr Woolnough, that 74 per cent of broker applications needed some form of re-work, Ms Sheedy suggested that a similar proportion of re-work was needed for commercial loans coming through the third-party channel.

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She said: “Unfortunately, once again – quality issues delay not only that deal but the good deals that are standing behind it. So, if there is anything that I ask you to assist us with, that is your support in submitting clean and complete deals because it just makes everything work more effectively."

No immediate plans for asset finance 

When asked whether the bank was looking to roll out any new offerings in the priority commercial mortgages business, such as asset and equipment finance, Ulrich Heitbaum, ING DIRECT’s chief risk officer, said: “We are looking into the PCM business and we are already trying to expand our capabilities and approve bigger tickets. 

“We need to constantly look what is possible [but] for the time being my appetite is set… So, what we have currently with PCM we are satisfied – we want to have more of it, but in a similar area. So for the moment, no.”

[Related: ING reveals plans for 'key' broker channel]

Challenger bank working on commercial turnaround times
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